Friday 6th February – We finally decided as we left Bremer Bay which caravan park we were going to stay at in Esperance and called them as we drove along, only to find they don’t have a spot big enough for us until tomorrow, so rather than choose another caravan park, and none of them in Esperance sound great, we decide to book in to a cabin for the night, yippeee ~ That will be nice!
It’s a long journey today, 380km from Bremer Bay to Esperance which takes us just under 5 hours. The road is not great at all, very bumpy and skinny and although it’s quiet there are a fair few road trains to tackle for your share of the road. While we drive along we use the time wisely to write up some blog and do some school work with Maddy.
I’ve also downloaded some music from Spotify so that we can listen to some different music along the way as we’ll be mostly out of internet range. We’re listening to lots of Passenger, Kasey Chambers, Jason Mraz and Stu Larsen today. All new music to us which is nice.
Drew and I also get chance to talk more about our goals for the year ahead and we write down some plans and exactly what we need to spend and earn and it’s looking all good and doable.
There is pretty much nothing between Bremer Bay and Esperance except a small town called Ravensthorpe. The landscape is very agricultural with huge fields that look like they’ve been recently harvested, some fields with livestock and a fair few fields with farmed trees all felled and lying in lines, we’re assuming drying before being collected and converted to wood chip. As Albany does a lot of exporting wood chip.
We even get a spot of rain along the way! Rain? Surely not!
We stopped for lunch and a bit of a break, it’s handy to be able to get in the caravan and sit down to eat, and wash up afterwards. I’d made us a quinoa and tuna salad for lunch which was lovely.
We finally made it to Esperance, a 5 hour drive all up pretty much. There are about 5 caravan parks to choose from in Esperance and none of them sound very good, but we chose a Top Tourist Park the Esperance Bay Caravan Park and as they didn’t have a spot for us tonight we parked the car and van outside and checked in to our cabin for the night. Very excited to be staying in a cabin, all that space to move around in!
We took a change of clothes and some food for tonight and tomorrow out of the van for the night and settled in.
Time to explore! We went for a walk along the foreshore to see what Esperance is all about. Maddy found some exercise machines which she always loves a play on.
This end of Esperance where we are staying is the port. So the beach looks out over ships being loaded. The water still has that amazing turquoise blue colour which is pretty incredible so close to the port.
We walked along the front and to be honest we’re really uninspired with Esperance so far, I think we were expecting it to be a much nicer little town. It’s a bit tired and run down really. We hear the beaches around here are supposed to be some of the best in the world, so we look forward to exploring those tomorrow.
Popped in to the information centre and picked up a few maps of the area, then wondered through some interesting quirkly little shops that are in old buildings in the museum complex before heading back to the cabin.
Was nice to spend an evening in sitting on a sofa and cooking in a kitchen.
Saturday 7th February – It’s nice to wake up in a bedroom! I wanted to get a run in this morning so headed to the foreshore. It’s a beautiful day today, the one good thing about Esperance is the foreshore has been recently done up and has a path that goes all the way along the seafront, so I followed that. I ran for a good 30 minutes without stopping along the path and it still continued, but that was my turnaround point, so I ran all the way back. There were a few other folks around but not many, this is a quiet little place. I managed to do a 10km run in under an hour, with harldy any knee isuees so I was pretty happy with that, tired but happy!
Drew had organised a wonderful breakfast for me and was already doing some school work with Maddy. So after a quick shower, in a bathroom, I sat down to avocado, tomoato and 2 perfectly poached eggs, yum yum.
Soon our van site became free so we moved the van in to place and moved our few bits and pieces out of the cabin.
Our space for the next 6 nights
It’s such a wonderful day we decided to head out and explore some of the beaches west of Esperance. There is a road that follows the coast for about 20km taking in all the wonderful beaches along the way.
The walking/ cycle path also follows along here for about 11km or so, although it’s a bit hilly it looks like a great bike ride to follow.
First stop is West Beach, gorgeous.
Then we drove on a bit further to another stunning view across Blue Haven beach. That looked like a lovely sheltered spot to spend a few hours. There were also a couple of paddle borders paddling out, we will stop there another time for a swim for sure.
Then on to Salmon Beach, then Fourth Beach, then Twilight Bay which is supposed to be great for swimming. Some people were taking surfing lessons there, looked like a great surf spot for us too, waves not too big for Miss Maddy.
Then around to Observatory Point, walked up the steps and boardwalk to the lookout and spotted a shark meandering along the beach line, literally just a few metres off the beach.
View from the lookout at Observatory Point
Luckily there was nobody swimming in the area, he would have been well over a metre long, you could see him quite clearly. A good reminder that these beaches are well known for being frequently visited by sharks! We heard that a local couple have voluntarily taken their own helicopter to shark spotting along the Esperance beaches… what does that tell you? We better be careful!
We then drove along Nine Mile Beach, Ten Mile Lagoon and on to Eleven Mile Beach. This really is a beautiful piece of coastline.
There looked to be a wonderful spot there to spend a few hours and it was lunch time too so we took our picnic and found a wonderful little spot with a protected lagoon and a sheltered spot between the rocks.
We spent a good few hours there, Maddy loved playing in the lagoon and around the rocks.
Drew enjoyed taking some more amazing photos and I read my magazine and got a bit of sunbaking in.
We drove back around the rest of the loop, past the wind farms and the Pink Lake, which isn’t very pink at the moment and back in to town.
Esperance does have a Woolworths which is good, a pretty big one too. So we stopped in there to stock up on food before heading back to the van for a quiet evening.
Sunday 8th February – Drew got up super super early to get some photo’s and headed off to Twilght Beach.
He was out the door before 5am as sunrise is pretty early here, and back just after 6am and got some great shots.
We caught up our washing and some school work before heading to the local markets. The markets were OK, but there was no fresh local produce which was such a disappointment, I had refrained from buying any fruit or vegies from the supermarket preferring to buy local and hopefully organic instead! But it was not to be….
We did however buy 3 amazingly yummy naughty gluten free brownies, the brownie stall just had 3 different types of Brownies and she was selling them fast, nice little earner and how simple. Maddy had a wonderful time cuddling some little white bunnies that were for sale.
We bought some “fertilized” eggs from him as there were no others available at the markets. He did promise us if we refrigerate them they won’t hatch…. Not sure but I felt sorry for him as all he’d sold was 3 ducks all morning and Maddy had sat there for an hour cuddling his rabbits!
We could have bought some goldfish from the market too, that was kind of strange. Imagine carting fish tanks to the market.
After the market it was such a lovely day we decided to drive out to the Cape Le Grand National Park and check out the famous Lucky Bay which is supposed to be one of the best beaches in WA. It’s about 60km or so from Esperance. Great road out there, all tarmac and in some ways better than the road between Esperance and Albany.
We were surprised to discover that you can drive along the beach at Lucky Bay, there were several 4WD’s along the beach and of course the beach was all tyre tracks at the back of the beach.
I think I would have preferred a pristine white beach unspoilt really… the beach itself is really white and of course the colour of the water is absolutely turquoise, a stunning colour.
It was a tad windy and there was nobody in the water, perhaps it’s not a great day for swimming.
There are often kangaroos on the beach and we had hoped to see some, but there was just the one today. There is a little blue coffee van on the beach doing a fair trade selling hot drinks. That’s the only place to buy anything here.
There is a small camp ground here, we had thought about having a few days here but it looked a bit crowded and windy too, so perhaps we’ll stay put!
From there we had a drive around a few of the other beaches, they are all very pretty and the granite boulders dotted around are interesting too.
We ended up finding a lovely little beach to spend a few hours that was more sheltered and better for swimming, Hellfire Bay.
Such a pretty spot, amazing turquoise ocean. Drew went for a walk to take some photos from the other end of the beach
Monday 9th February – Drew went for a ride along the coast west along the great ocean drive. He said it was a great ride, quite hilly but pretty good.
I then went for a ride along the esplanade, it’s only 10k, return so I did it twice! Was treated to watching a few dolphins frolicking in the bay.
Such a beautiful spot when the sun is shining
We then completed a bit more schooling before heading out to check out Cape Arid National Park, which is about 120km from Esperance east, past Cape Le Grand.
It was due to be a hot day but as we got to the park the temperatures were soaring. We drove around and looked over Dolphin Cove, it wasn’t a swimming beach, huge surf coming in. So we drove along to the next beach, Tagon Bay.
We set off to check out Little Tagon Bay and it was 42 degrees. It was a lovely beach but not great for swimming, we paddled a bit and then went back to the car. Too hot to sit on the beach!
We were on the lookout for somewhere to swim, so drove around to Thomas River, which flows in to the ocean. To get to the beach you literally had to drive across the river. It wasn’t terribly deep, been a while since we’ve done a water crossing!
We drove on the beach and parked up, a tad windy and not a swimming beach again, so paddled and took photos.
This whole area is really quiet, we saw one other person and that’s it!
The Beach at Thomas River
Beautiful turquoise waves….
Then drove on to try to get to another beach a bit further east. We drove along a fairly decent track for about half an hour or so.
Then the track took a drastic change in to a very very narrow track, just like that! We drove down it for only 100 metres or so before deciding to turn around, it was just too narrow, the branches were scratching the side of the vehicle. We’ve made that mistake once already on this trip and still have the scratches to prove it!
So we turned around and drove out and headed across to Duke of Orleans Bay and beach. This beach is just outside the Cape Le Grand National Park and there is a commercial caravan park here. We stopped for an ice cream after lunch but it looked very run down and we’d read many comments about it being crowded and noisy with the Kalgoorlie Locals, so we won’t be trying this place out either.
We stopped in a quiet little bay for some lunch and found a nice spot to sit and eat our picnic. The temperature has dropped a little now which is good!
Maddy looking at Daddy laid on the sand…. what is he doing?
And another beach, Wharton Beach
It had been a long day in the car but what else to do when the temp hits 44 degrees. The weather was changing on the way back and dropped down to 25 degrees as we drove, it also became really hazy, strange weather, quite eerie.
Back for a shower and then off to Woolies to get some fresh veiges and fruit for dinner after our disappointment at the markets this morning. I made a wonderful raw vegan thai style salad for dinner, loving these meals they feel so fresh and healthy.
Spent a few hours colouring in with Maddy, more of her finished artwork
Tuesday 10th February – Weather is a bit rubbish today, very hazy, so Drew does his ride and then I do a run along the coast, the hilly hilly run along the beaches to Blue Haven beach and back. It was a sure test for me and I was pleased to do 10k with those dreadful hills without too much knee issue.
I then spent the morning doing a wonderful art and craft project with Maddy for school. I knew she was going to like this one, it was all about art and nature. We first looked around the caravan park and collected some leaves and twigs and flowers and nuts and then talked about the patterns on them and she drew them. Pretty good drawing for a 7 year old!
Then we had to create a piece of artwork, so we looked at some Mandalas on line to get some inspiration then collected the things we needed. We found some shells we’d collected earlier on our trip and some leaves and nuts from trees and set about creating something.
It turned out amazing, Maddy did most of it, I helped a little. Maddy totally loved it, she loves anything crafty.
The finished piece – wish we could keep it! I’d love her to do something like this for us at home.
We then had lunch, a healthy juice and some raw vegie rice paper rolls which were super yummy.
The weather was improving and the sun was coming out so we got ready for the beach and heaed over to Twilight beach. We had a wonderful few hours there, Maddy played in the sand, we took the boogie boards down and all had a surf, the waves were small, perfect for Maddy.
Then back to the van for a quiet evening in. Another great day!
Wednesday 11th February – Up and no school work or exercise today as we are off to climb a mountain, well more of a peak really, Frenchmans peak which is in the Cape Le Grand National Park, about 40 minutes drive.
It was fairly busy at the car park, popular spot! We walked out along the track and a boardwalk.
On the way up… it was really steep, much steeper than we expected and not as the walk was described at all! It said a gentle slope, this was not a gentle slope!
Maddy scampered up as usual, we were glad we’d put good shoes on, although we did see a few tourists in flip flops… doh!
When you are about 80% up there is a huge cave! It’s awesome looking out over the national park. Maddy loved pottering around exploring the cave.
In the cave on the way up to Frenchmans Peak
Then the last climb to the very top. Stunning, well worth the effort!
Maddy at the top of Frenchmens Peak
Enjoying the view at the top of Frenchmans Peak. We really love it when we get out and get some walking in.
The view from the top over towards Hellfire Beach and Lucky Bay
It was just as steep going down, harder for sure than going up. We took it really carefully and kept Maddy under control. It wasn’t an easy walk at all, and then about half way down we came across a couple and the lady had taken a tumble, she was pretty cut up as the rocks are sharp, but they had first aid and she seemed OK.
After our walk while we were in the National Park we drove around to explore more beaches.
Cape Le Grand Beach
We drove along Lucky Beach once again, the weather is a bit iffy today, need blue sky!
Rather than drive back in to Esperance by road, the tides were right for us to take the beach drive back, so we let the tyres down and drove on to the sand. We had a couple of hours to complete the 30km trip before high tide. We only saw a couple of other vehicles along the way, we seemed to have been driving for a long time and were not sure where to come off to get back to a road. Eventually we found it. We were getting a bit concerned that we’d missed it, but it was fine!
Back in Esperance we stopped at Taylors Beach Bar Café which is on the water front for lunch, it’s looks like the only nice place in Esperance to eat…
Lunch was lovely, tapas and a glass of Rose.
We had a wonder around the few shops in Esperance, the book shop was closed and talking to the locals they were saying Esperance is really struggling, places are closing which is a shame as a couple of years ago money was being thrown at it and it was set to become a WA super town. That must when the sea front was done up as it’s about the only thing in Esperance that has been, besides the rail link and overpass to the port! There wasn’t much by way of shops though, we couldn’t even find a book to buy for Maddy so we headed back and Maddy and I made another Mandala together.
Thursday 12th February – Drew went for a bike ride today.
I did some schooling with Maddy, she was up super early today, 6am, brekkied by 6.30 and started school work before 7am! Way to go!!! Plan for today to is do one of the walks in the Cape Le Grand National Park, along the coast. The walk is 15km one way so we’ll just do a section.
We drove out to the park and parked up at Thistle Cove, the walk goes through here from Cape Le Grand Beach. We picked up the trail and walked over the headland and along the coast to Lucky Bay.
The track over to Lucky Bay
It was a very well marked track with large fence posts marking the way. It’s a bit dull and cloudy today so not the best of weather to bring out the colours, but at least it wasn’t another 44 degree day, that wouldn’t be fun.
We walked down to the west end of Lucky Bay beach, it was covered in seaweed so not really as pretty as it could be. There were a couple of kangaroos on the beach which are super friendly and come right up to you.
They must often get fed by the tourists, which you shouldn’t do, but I guess that’s what they’re after.
We walked along the beach and found somewhere to sit for a snack before walking back again. Maddy was keen for me to tell her another story about her two beanie boo cats Pepper and Tabatha, which kept her well entertained all the way back. In fact on this trip she even took Pepper with her.
It was a lovely walk though, we all enjoyed it, we all love to be out and about walking we really do. We saw quite a few of these fellas along the way, Maddy was fascinated with every one…
Back at Thistle Cove there are some interesting rocks to wander around. Thistle Cove itself looks like a nice beach but it’s not a swimming day today, bit cool and windy.
We drove over to Rossiter Beach for a look for a spot to have lunch along a very very bumpy corrugated road. It wasn’t that pretty at the moment either as covered in seaweed. So we drove back to Lucky Bay and drove about half way along the beach and sat in the car for our picnic lunch.
After that we stopped in at Stone Henge on the way back. It’s really intrigueging why anyone would want to build a life sife replica of the original StoneHenge from Salisbury in the UK but they did! It’s right next to a farm and costs $10 per adult and $5 per child to get in, which is quite a lot but as I have never been to the real stone henge I thought why not?
We learnt that it was commissioned by a guy who lost everything and the couple here are the farm bought it and put it on their property. It’s made from Esperance Pink Granite which is a really beautiful stone. It’s actually really well done, it’s only been complete for a couple of years but it is exactly like the stone henge would have been. The original was built in 1950 bc and nobody really knows how or why it was built. This one is also built to along with the summer and winter salstace. It feels quite peaceful inside and has pretty good acoustics.
There was just the 3 of us there and Maddy and I enjoyed a wonderful game of hide and seek while Drew took lots of photos.
After that we headed back to Esperance and stopped in at Caz and Craigs, they’d arrived late last night and we haven’t seen them since Margaret River, so we were all looking forward to catching up.
We ended up having a lovely afternoon and evening, the kids had great fun running around the caravan park, climbing trees, riding bikes while the adults drank wine and enjoyed a really good catch up. We got a take out pizza as we couldn’t be bothered to cook and ended up not leaving until nearly 10pm. It was a great evening, we’d all been feeling a bit travelled out and after a few hours natter and silliness I think we all felt much better.
It’s a shame we are leaving tomorrow morning to head north to Kalgoorlie as it would have been lovely to spend a few days with them again.
Friday 13th February – Leaving Esperance today and heading to Kalgoorlie, we took it easy packing up today as it was forecast to be 44 degrees in Kalgoorlie, so we didn’t really want to get there too early. It was raining a little in Esperance so we didn’t get our morning exercise in today. It’s a fair drive today, just under 400km.